Dodgers ace Kershaw nearing rehab assignment

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw a two-inning simulated game on Wednesday and will throw a three-inning simulated game on Monday before potentially beginning a minor league rehab assignment late next week, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kershaw, 29, has been sidelined since leaving a July 23 start after just two innings because of a strain in his lower back. He has completed several strenuous workouts since, according to the paper, and pronounced himself recovered last week in Phoenix.

The Dodgers are tentatively planning for Kershaw to return to the rotation to make multiple starts before the postseason begins. Kershaw is 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 21 starts this season.

“He’s close,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters last week. “I think it just makes sense for us to be cautious. We just don’t want to put ourselves in any situation where there’s a setback. The calendar’s on our side. I know that Clayton resists that. But I think as an organization it’s best for him and best for all of us to err on the side of caution.”

The Dodgers also said they were playing it safe by removing Yu Darvish from his home debut on Wednesday because of back tightness.